New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The National Green Tribunal has directed Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand to look into a complaint against the construction of public toilets and discharge of untreated waste in the floodplain zone of the Ganga river by the Rishikesh Municipal Corporation.
The complainant alleged that part of the toilet complex has been encroached by the present Councilor and the agents of the Municipal Corporation and no Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) has been constructed there.
The applicant Vipin Nayyar stated that he has also submitted relevant photographs and instances of the agents of the Municipal Corporation taking bath and washing vehicles on the tap installed outside the toilet complex on the bank of the river.
NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel’s bench observed that the matter was considered earlier on January 3 and it was found that a public toilet had been constructed in the flood plain zone illegally.
“Accordingly, it was directed that the arrangement should not be permanent and it may be ensured that no untreated sewage is discharged into the river or in the open.” read the order dated May 18.
The report submitted by the District Magistrate, Dehradun, contended that Septic tanks are evacuated from time to time. 80 per cent work has been constructed but it has been suspended by the green court.
“This is being done for the visitors in 3 km of Astha Path where no other such facility is available, except at Triveni Ghat,” the report said.
However, the applicant had filed objections to the report on the ground that the construction within Flood Plain Zone is illegal.
“While we find merit in the objections of the applicant that the construction in Flood Plain Zone is illegal, having regard to the public inconvenience pointed out, we direct that the arrangement in question should be interim and not treated as a precedent and shifted to an appropriate location, where construction is legally allowed,” the tribunal said.
Till an alternative arrangement is made, septic tanks be regularly cleaned and maintained to ensure that no untreated sewage is discharged into the river or in the open, in violation of provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and earlier SC verdict on Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti’s plea, it added directing the CS to look into the matter.